The study shows that modern-day men have a body temperature 0.58°C lower than their 19th century counterparts, while women’s are 0.32°C lower
A new study suggests the average temperature of the human body is slightly lower than the standard 37°C established more than 150 years ago, US media report.
According to a research from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the human body is getting colder. The study shows that modern-day men have a body temperature 0.58°C lower than their 19th century counterparts, while women’s are 0.32°C lower.
The average human body temperature was determined by German physicist Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich in 1851. To do so, he collected millions of temperature readings for 25,000 patients in Leipzig and calculated the average of these readings to be 37°C.
A 2002 analysis of 27 modern studies found the mean temperature of the human body to be uniformly lower than Wunderlich’s standard, and a 2017 analysis of more than 35,000 British patients with nearly 250,000 temperature measurements confirmed the lower value.
The Stanford research team set out to determine whether this observed lower average human body temperature was representative of a true change, or if it was the result of bias from either method of collecting temperature measurements or the quality of thermometers and their calibration.
Wunderlich collected temperature data via the armpit, whereas modern studies collected temperature data orally.
When Wunderlich was gathering temperatures in Leipzig in 1851, the average life expectancy was just 38 years. Researchers note that large portions of the population at this point in time had untreated chronic infections such as tuberculosis and syphilis, which cause chronic inflammation and therefore could have accounted for a higher average body temperature.